Marooned – a short story

marooned cover Marooned is a short story (4,900 words) about what happened when a three day ‘Robinson Crusoe’ adventure went awry.

Circumstances means what was to become a pleasurable brief stay on an uninhabited island becomes a challenge of mind and body.

Come and take the journey…

 

 

 

 

Sampler

*1

Several hours drive from the nearest town large enough to have a proper supermarket, the National Park is a popular destination that covers almost a thousand square miles on the mainland and includes almost a dozen small islands. These islands range from tiny specks of rock to mighty islands that in times past have been home to hardy cattlemen who brought their steers to market by barge to the mainland then trucked to the sale yards. Where the barges once landed is now a bustling port servicing a fleet of tourist boats that ply the waters between the islands and to the reef beyond.

I am heading to an island on the smaller end of the scale; an uninhabited one nestling in between its two larger siblings that host resorts catering to people better heeled than me. My island is totally undeveloped and from reports, has barely enough flat ground to pitch a tent, which cannot be much, because my tent is really small.

Not having a girlfriend and with all my friends working, I set off solo several months ago in my old car to explore the coast, sleeping in my small two-man tent. Every day my afternoons and evenings are spent chatting with people at camping grounds and backpackers digs; depending on where I stay, and if staying a few days I team up with them and do some local touristy things. But I am free to choose what I do and when I do it, which is just the way I like it. So when I discovered I could camp on an uninhabited island, the ‘Robinson Crusoe’ awakened in me and I leapt at the chance, paid park camping fees and I am now set for three days and nights of solitude, exploration and adventure.

The sun is shining, as it generally does every day at this time of year and the boat taking me to my island is laden with day-trippers who will tour some of the beautiful inshore islands. Half of the passengers are backpackers and of those, plenty are from Europe. The girls have already stripped down to their bikinis and as they stretch out on the warm deck of the boat to work on their tans, I cannot help but eye their unblemished sun-honeyed skin. I guess it is too late to meet them and try to tempt one to be my ‘Girl Friday’ on the island.

After an hour and a half the boat engine starts to wind down and I tear my eyes away from the girls and drag my thoughts away from the of the sorts of erotic things a young man primed with testosterone daydreams about, and focus back again on the present. My plans for a few days exploring the island are challenged as the island rises before me. It is about half a mile long and with a steep tussock grass covered hill that is like a jagged spine running from end to end. From the water, the hill looks too steep to climb and the beach, or what there is of it at high tide, runs only a hundred yards either side of where the skipper is nosing the boat up to the shore.

I jump down off the bow into warm waist deep water and some of the other passengers then pass my belongings to me and I stack them on the beach. It is not a pleasant sandy beach, but made up of thousands of bits of dead coral tossed up by storm and tide and is painful under my bare feet.

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Rainforest pool

An island of remnant forest nestles securely high above the surrounding plain. This is the Bunya Mountains, home to the Bunya Pine, a mighty tree that has links back to the Jurassic Period.

The mountains, more hills to those familiar with true mountains, provides a safe refuge for a wide variety of plant and animal species and owing to their place within otherwise flat country, attracts clouds and rainfall significantly higher than that nearby at lower altitudes.

This allows year-round streams to flow and provides delightful and restful scenes such as this.

mountain pool

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Three orange stones

From the starting point atop the Great Dividing Range on Australia’s Eastern fringe, the location of this photograph is close to civilisation, yet quite inaccessible. The three kilometre walk  descends around 350 metres and the decline traverses remnant layers of volcanic basalt and tuft rock that was deposited by a giant shield volcano. The walk  culminates in a creek bed that cuts through  sandstone that was deposited over 200 million years ago, or well before the age of the great dinosaurs.

Hidden under a moist overhang, these three colourful  rocks, oddly coloured and emerging from an overhang within the watercourse made a striking contrast to the surrounding dark rock gravel. The stones are based on clay, the result of millions of years of breakdown in the granite.

three orange rocks in stream bed

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Orange mushroom – part opened

Thrusting its way through straw mulch, this determined tiny mushroom makes a statement about reaching its goal. Short-lived, the cap will open and turn dark brown before the sun sets. The next rain will see more orange fungi emerge for their brief exposure to the ‘topside’ world.

This image provides a delicate yet striking glow suitable for many hanging opportunities around the home or office.

photogragraph of cute small orange mushroom

This image is proportioned for a 14 x 11 inch print, or larger. It lends itself to also being cropped for a portrait orientation.

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Orange mushroom

Emerging after rain and lasting only a day, these small mushrooms are found in the garden beds of the parks near my home. Even though this image was captured just a few hours after sun-up, already the cap is showing signs of age, which adds to the feeling of delicacy.

Delicate orange mushroom photo

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I also have a professionally mounted copy, on 3mm foam core backing and 2 1/4” wide black mat with white core – 18 1/4 x 15 1/2” dimension, ready for framing. Please contact me for pricing.

 

Pandanas fruit on beach

The iconic tree for beaches north from the mid-north coast of NSW, Australia and across the northern tropical coastline, the pandanas is a hardy tree that tolerates beachfront locations.

Providing a basic food source when specially prepared, the seeds of the tree are equally hardy. Turning a glowing orange when ripe, they drop to the ground where in many locations this is close enough for high tides to take the seeds for potential colonisation in far-flung places.

This particular fruit segment is washed by the high tide in Pumicestone Passage, Queensland.

Pandanas fruit on beach

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Sentinals and the boardwalk

These four sentinels rise from the water to offer protection for the the pond-side boardwalk. The image features a pleasing grain effect and makes an amazing feature when framed with white mat and black frame. Perfect for creating a strong visual element in any room.

Photos of boardwalk trees in black and white

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Barnacle on a beach

Creatures of wild and exposed rocks and also known to adhere to ships and whales, the discovery of of a barnacle ‘shell’ is an uncommon find.

This example exhibits a pleasing range of pastel purples. It is the first in a  series of Foreshore images.

Photo of a barnacle on a beach

Image size 12×16 inches, but will print larger. $10 for private use only.

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Kookaburra in tree

Almost as iconic of Australia as the kangaroo, the kookaburra forms a close link to the bush even in urban areas. At times, if you get close, they seem to connect with you, even across space and time through the magic of photography. If you want to connect, no matter where you are, now you can.

kookaburra photo

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Wood in black and white

Wood is a great object to photograph. Often colours are the dominant appeal while at other times it is the texture of the wood itself that is the focal point. In the case of old and weathered wood the opportunity arises to highlight the ancient aspects of the timbers.

wood in black and white

 

Image size 12×16 inches. $10 for private use only.

This image is available for digital download, ready to print.

If you wish to purchase a framed or canvas of this image, please contact me.